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August 1, 2012

July’s top stories: Syrian air attacks and UK’s first F-35

Syrian attack helicopters and fighter jets launched an offensive against rebels as the UK received its first F-35. Airforce-technology wraps up the key headlines from July 2012.

By Liam Stoker

Syrian city "bombed by fighter jets"

Syrian city bombed

As escalating violence threatened President Bashar al-Assad’s weakening regime, the nation’s air force responded by bombarding swathes of Aleppo, Syria’s second city.

Attack helicopters were predominantly used, however officials reported the presence of MiG-23 fighter bombers, marking a significant development in the ongoing conflict.

Russia will not deliver Yak-130 jets to Syria


In response to the violence in Syria, the nation’s ally Russia was forced to concede that it will not deliver a fleet of 40 Yak-130 fighter planes.

Syria had ordered the fleet from a Russian arms manufacturer in late 2011, and the cancellation marked a change in tact from the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, who had previously confirmed that the country would honour previously existing contracts.

UK MoD takes delivery of first Lockheed F-35B JSF

Joint Strike Fighter

The Joint Strike Fighter programme passed a significant milestone as the UK Ministry of Defence took delivery of its first F-35B short take off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant aircraft.

Becoming the first international customer to accept the aircraft, UK defence secretary Philip Hammond welcomed the arrival, stating that the aircraft will provide the Royal Air Force with a "world class fighting capability".

Root cause of F-22 Raptor hypoxia identified, confirms USAF

F-22 Raptor fleet

The US Air Force’s troubled fleet of F-22 Raptor fighter jets will have its flight restrictions lifted after the root cause of hypoxia-like incidents that had been afflicting its pilots was identified.

Restrictions had been imposed on the F-22 Raptor fleet, prohibiting extended use of the aircraft.

The problem was identified as being related to hardware of the pilot’s life support equipment.

USAF completes alcohol-based fuel tests on A-10C Thunderbolt

US Air Force

The US Air Force continued delving into experimental, environmentally-friendly fuels by conducting the first test flight of a new alcohol-to-jet (ATJ) fuel onboard an A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft.

The aircraft took off from Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, US, and was powered by a mixture of ATJ and standard JP-8 aviation fuel.

BAE close to signing Oman Eurofighter contract


A source close to BAE was quoted by Reuters as saying that the company was closing to signing an agreement with Oman for 12 Eurofighters in a deal thought to be worth approximately £1.5bn.

The Royal Oman Air Force considered the Typhoon aircraft as an ideal replacement for its ageing fleet of Sepecat Jaguar aircraft.

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